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What Causes Water on the Knee?

It sounds like a strange affliction, to be sure, but Water on the Knee is a condition that can cause significant discomfort and affects many people. Sometimes referred to as an “effusion,” this condition has many underlying causes and is exacerbated by age, obesity, and excessive activity. 

The condition appears as swelling in the knee joint. In some particular cases, the swelling can enlarge the knee up to 3 times its original size. This swelling can lead to severe pain and tension in the joint and left untreated, can cause permanent damage to the knee area. Of course, it is also worth noting that the name of the condition does not accurately reflect what is occurring. The knee does not fill with water, but instead, a solution of white and red blood cells and natural lubricants. 

Unfortunately, effusion is a common problem that creates knee pain in Calgary, but there are several treatments available and ways to reduce the risk of it occurring to you. As well, due to how frequent the problem is, many experts and professionals can assist you with treating the condition. 


Factors Influencing Knee Pain



One of the factors that can increase the risk of this condition is obesity. When people are overweight, it causes undue stress on all parts of their bodies. Their joints, such as the knees, are particularly susceptible. However, that doesn’t mean that every person who is overweight will also experience effusion, but it does increase the risk. 

To reduce your risk of obesity-related effusion, make sure you take regular breaks during your exercise and avoid standing without moving for long periods of time. Both of these will reduce your likelihood of developing water-on-the-knee symptoms. 


Similarly, another factor that will increase the risk of developing an effusion is age. Like many afflictions of the body, as we age, our ability to prevent or self-treat problems becomes lessened. In some cases, this can combine with previous injuries in the knee area, and the likelihood of Water on the Knee will increase even more. Maintaining a healthy exercise regimen and proper diet throughout our lives is a critical component of reducing the risk of Water on the Knee due to age-related factors.

Injured runner girl is sitting and holding her knee


Another reason that effusion may occur is the presence of osteoarthritis in the knee. This condition is actually the most common form of arthritis, in the USA, at least. Often, osteoarthritis is a direct result of the overuse of a particular joint group and bears many similarities to other well-known conditions, like carpal tunnel syndrome. Thankfully, though it is the most common type of arthritis, osteoarthritis does not affect the organs of your body as other forms of arthritis often do. 

Excessive Exercise

Finally, another common reason that Water on the Knee begins is from excessive exercise, especially activities like running on uneven surfaces. Other activities where the knee bears weight forcefully, such as cut-and-run sports like soccer or football, can produce a similar effect. However, if the reason for this condition is excessive activity, it is worth noting that there are knee-strengthening exercises that are available to improve the overall strength of the knee and reduce the likelihood of the condition’s occurrence. 


How to Treat Knee Pain Caused by Effusion

Thankfully, effusion causing knee pain in Calgary is not very difficult to cure, in most circumstances. Simply keeping weight off the knee and icing the affected area should be enough to reduce the swelling and pain of this condition in a relatively short time. Some people also find benefits in changing from hot to cold applications during their rest and treatment periods, but this should only occur after consultation with a medical professional. 

However, if this condition does not respond to these types of treatment, you are strongly encouraged to seek the advice of a medical health professional. Sometimes, injections of anti-inflammatories or antibiotics can reduce the effects. If osteoarthritis is the cause, there may be a separate treatment plan to acknowledge the symptoms of that disease as well. 

Additionally, you can seek the help and expertise of qualified physiotherapists. They can provide information on knee-strengthening exercises and step-by-step programs to move forward through this uncomfortable type of pain. These programs may include referral to a licensed massage therapist who can further guide you through exercises and techniques to strengthen your knees and other joints, while also reducing the likelihood of conditions like Water on the Knee.

Welcome to Brentwood Physiotherapy, your trusted Calgary physiotherapy clinic. For the past 16 years, our experienced physiotherapists have been treating individuals suffering from acute to chronic conditions, with one goal: to address the core cause of their pain and put them on the road to recovery. Get back on the path to a healthier you by contacting Brentwood Physiotherapy today at 403-282-8050.


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